I remember that on the second night after this all began, the same night that the news crew showed up at our door and then sat on the roadside filming our house, Chris and I sat on the back porch and I told him it felt like my chest was caving in. The panic, the fear, the pain…it was too much. It brought about the sensation that there was 1000 lbs of weight centered upon my breastbone, forcing it downward into my lungs until I could no longer draw more than the shallowest of breaths, just enough to keep me alive so that I could feel the pain. At that time it wasn’t the pain of being wronged. It was blinding pain stemming from the thought that our family might soon be torn apart.
I had never before and have never since felt like I did that night. Oh, our struggle didn’t prove to be over that night or the next. It’s still not over today, 20 months later. As a matter of fact, my fears were well founded and our family has indeed been separated temporarily. Eighteen more months to go, to be exact. I doubt I would be mentally stable today (ok, so maybe that’s still a bit questionable) had God not provided me with the most blessed relief from that bone crushing fear and pain.
Now, I have heard stories of people surviving horrible tragedies because they felt like God enveloped them in his comfort and gave them that ever-sought “peace that passes understanding”. I have to admit, though, that I don’t think that was my exact experience. Don’t get me wrong. I believe 100% that He has brought me through this trial thus far. It’s just that I haven’t at any time felt any type of direct spiritual intervention that I have heard others describe. Maybe that’s due to a lack of spiritual maturity on my part, but I honestly don’t believe so. I believe that God has provided his comfort and his healing through two little knuckleheads in my life whose names are Luke and Mia.
It’s not that my children have been my shoulders to cry on. They aren’t my counselors. They aren’t some extraordinarily mature 4 and 7 year olds who have behaved perfectly and comforted me with sweet words when I was down. No, they are normal, rambunctious, hilariously funny, and sometimes maddening children. They fuss about getting up in the morning and about brushing their teeth. They create lots of dirty clothes and they spill their milk at the dinner table. They also have the most infectious laughs. They think anything relating to bathroom humor is a riot. Luke laughs so hard that he snorts. They fight with each other. They team up together when one needs to go into a dark room in the house and is afraid to go by him/herself. They are picky eaters. Each night I make two meals, a decent one for me and crap for them. It’s what they like. They love Phineas and Ferb and laugh violently at their antics. They sleep with me every night. I threaten and scowl that they must go to sleep immediately and then when they fall asleep I lie next to them and look at them in awe of their beauty and innocence.
It’s definitely not all roses where my babies are involved, but they do, indeed, save me. They keep me from being too self-centered. They make me laugh. They make me angry at times, the result of which is often an emotional release that I was much in need of anyway. Their hugs and kisses are like a calming salve. Without them 2 years without my husband would be an awfully long and awfully lonely time. With them I have two little pieces of him with me each and every day. I can see him in their faces. I can see him in the things they do and hear him in the things they say.
I'm not one to claim that I know how God works in our lives, but I believe that he does and that he knew what I needed when he placed these two little ones in my life.
P.S. Tonight is a special night for Luke and I. We are eating dinner at Olive Garden then going to see Star Wars in Concert and we are sitting on the 4th row! He has his Luke Skywalker costume ready to go. Please pray that we have a wonderful and safe "date" night.